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Putin to face ‘Caeser moment’ in Kremlin as invasion crumbles

Vladimir Putin is predicted to have a “Julius Caesar moment” as he faces increasing military failures in Ukraine and stirrings of a coup intensify in the Kremlin. The prediction was made by Richard Dannatt, a retired senior British Army officer and member of the House of Lords, who said the dictator had become a “victim of his own hubris.”

The first step towards Putin’s impending doom came before the war began, however, when the tyrant massively overestimated his ability to exert power over Ukraine.

Writing for the Telegraph, Mr Dannatt said: “He firmly believed his security services had infiltrated and undermined the Kyiv government; that a majority of the Ukrainian population were opposed to President Zelensky and favoured better links with Russia; and that his military was fit, capable and ready to mount a quick strike on Kyiv to effect regime change.”

This set the stage for the blunder that is looking increasingly likely to undo Putin’s reign – his invasion of Ukraine, starting with a failed attempt to capture the capital, Kyiv.

As reported at the time, it emerged that Putin’s ill-informed confidence in taking the capital came partly from a butchered report by his own security officers.

According to insiders, FSB officers were tasked with creating a report on Russia’s ability to take Kyiv – but were under the illusion that the report was purely hypothetical.

Fearing rebuke from their leader if they did anything but praise Russia’s military might, the report massively overstated both the instability of Ukraine and the comparative power of Moscow’s troopers.

By doing this they inadvertently helped convince Putin to make a move that now threatens his seat in the Kremlin, and possibly his life. Now, Putin’s initial ambition of seizing Kyiv and the rest of Ukraine in a matter of weeks has been scaled massively back.

Mr Dannatt wrote: “The Russian president knows that in order to justify his invasion, he must at the very least take and hold the four provinces that he declared to be ‘forever Russia’ last autumn – and Crimea, of course.”

In the largest forced takeover of land since WWII, last September Putin announced the annexation of the Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine following sham referendums in which voters were held at gunpoint.

The annexation has not been recognised by most other countries, and while Russia now controls a majority of land in each region, it has actually lost ground in each since the annexation.

While the Wagner group, fighting for Russia, claim to have taken control of the center of Bakhmut – the capital of Donetsk and one of the focal points of recent fighting – Mr Dannatt argued Russia appears now to be “trying to stabilise their defensive lines rather than launch a fresh offensive. The Russian military might have already reached its culmination point.”

He added that this is compounded by the possibility of Ukrainian forces “delivering decisive blows this summer” as they stage a fresh counterattack.

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The former Army officer said: “An army does not need to be defeated in detail. If its soldiers believe they are beaten, then they are indeed beaten and, as happened around Kharkiv last autumn, Russian young men are likely to turn and run.

“Such a collapse could prove to be the catalyst that sweeps Putin out of the Kremlin.”

This all raises the possibility of Putin being removed from the top spot as other political heavyweights increasingly doubt his ability to lead.

Mr Dannatt argued that the “most disaffected in Russia today are the military”, with a particular focus on General Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s chief of the general staff. He said: “Whether it is Gerasimov who seizes Brutus’s knife or not, Putin’s Julius Caesar moment is probably not that far away.”

Another figure who has been tipped to replace Putin is his longtime ally, Prigozhin Yevgeny.

The leader of the Wagner Group has reportedly grown frustrated with Russia’s lack of progress in Ukraine, as well as multiple instances in which the Russian military appears to have taken credit for Wagner achievements.

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